By RICHARD KAY
Lunch date: Prince William's fiancée went for lunch with the woman who will soon be her step mother-in law, the Duchess of Cornwall, for a primer on marrying into the Royal Family yesterday
Leaning in close to each other across the lunch table, the two women were deep in conversation.
Then the word ‘advice’ rang out across the busy restaurant.
The listener was Kate Middleton and the woman offering words of wisdom was none other than the former Mrs Camilla Parker Bowles.
This was the extraordinary scene yesterday as Prince William’s fiancée went for lunch with the woman who will soon be her step mother-in law, the Duchess of Cornwall, for a primer on marrying into the Royal Family.
Camilla, of course, knows all about advising princesses in waiting. Thirty years ago she sat down with a teenage Lady Diana Spencer in the run-up to her marriage to the Prince of Wales.
These days Camilla is part of the family and a vital sounding board for 29-year-old Kate as she counts down the days to her own wedding at Westminster Abbey in April.
And it was the wedding that was very much on their minds as they were joined by Kate’s sister Pippa and Camilla’s daughter Laura Lopez in Koffman’s, the new restaurant at the Berkeley Hotel in Knightsbridge, opened last year by three Michelin-starred chef Pierre Koffman.
Future queens: Camilla and Kate were joined by Kate's sister Pippa and Camilla's daughter Laura Lopez in Koffman's, the new restaurant at the Berkeley Hotel in Knightsbridge
That they chose to meet in such a high-profile venue in one of London’s top hotels - in clear view of other diners - was intriguing when they could have dined discreetly at Clarence House or any other royal address.
Princess Diana’s sapphire and diamond engagement ring sparkled on Kate’s finger as excited chatter about the wedding filled the air.
A fellow diner, sitting just two tables away, tells me: ‘All four women were talking away like mad and none of the waiters could get a word in edgeways to serve their lunch. Kate looked fantastic in a very short black skirt, black opaque tights, a short jacket and boots.
‘I heard Camilla saying... “if I can give you one bit of advice...” Kate was really enjoying the moment.
‘I did hear talk of trumpets and someone said “we can’t have trumpets, the ceiling is too high’’, which may have been a reference to Westminster Abbey.’
Me and my shadow: Kate and her police protection officer. Camilla and Kate's security sat at an adjacent table while the ladies talked about the much anticipated wedding
The duchess, in a purple tweed suit and with a glass of red wine in hand, was in charge during the three-hour lunch.
In fact, I understand that Camilla, who has dined at Koffman’s before, made the reservation.
Her food writer son, Tom Parker Bowles, is a friend of the master chef.
‘They were all getting on very well and they clearly hadn’t asked for an out-of-the-way table and nor did they attempt to lower their voices,’ the diner said.
‘It was high spirits all round. Kate and Pippa were sitting on banquettes with their backs to the wall opposite Camilla and Laura.
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‘There was one moment which was clearly meant to be amusing when Kate said “what happens if William doesn’t turn up?’’ Someone else then asked “is it going to be a sit-down lunch?’’
‘They followed that with talk of menus. I heard chipolatas, sausages on sticks and mini pizzas, but I don’t know whether it was ironic or not.’
The lunch party was completed by Kate and Camilla’s police protection officers.
The two gun-carrying women bodyguards sat at an adjoining table as the four women gossiped away.
Kate and William are still fine-tuning the wedding guest list.
More than 1,800 invitations are due to be sent out later this month.
source: dailymail [endtext]